JNCC's Annual Report and Accounts for year ending 31 March 2013
(2013)
JNCC
JNCC annual report and accounts for the year 2012/13
 
 

Annual Report and Accounts for year ending 31 March 2013

 

Chair’s and Chief Executive’s foreword

 

During 2012/13 JNCC provided evidence and advice on a wide range of issues relating to UK and international nature conservation to our principal funding and sponsoring bodies: the UK Government (chiefly the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, and the Northern Ireland Executive.

 

In July 2012 a UK post-2010 biodiversity framework was published which sets out a common purpose and shared priorities for the four UK administrations, enabling them collectively to meet EU and international obligations. This provides a renewed context for much of JNCC’s work.

 

Biodiversity evidence remained at the heart of our activities in 2012/13. Through long-established partnerships with civil society we continued to co-ordinate the efforts of thousands of volunteer recorders across the UK. In this way we provide evidence on the status and trends of terrestrial and freshwater species (for example, birds, mammals, invertebrates and plants) in a highly cost-effective manner. The information serves multiple purposes, for example helping to inform decision-making at many different scales and enabling the UK to meet EU and international reporting requirements. Over 85,000 species records are now accessible on the National Biodiversity Network (NBN), and JNCC’s technical expertise underpinned the release of an updated version of the NBN Gateway, with improved functionality.

 

We built on this foundation by commissioning research to establish the potential for using remote sensing to measure the extent and condition of terrestrial habitats and to develop UK-wide approaches for monitoring biodiversity in the marine environment. As these strands of work come to fruition, they will provide a more comprehensive picture of the status of UK biodiversity.

 

Over the past year, JNCC has made a substantial contribution towards completing the UK network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Working in partnership with Natural England, in July 2012 we provided formal recommendations to Defra on Marine Conservation Zones, and are now supporting Defra as they prepare to designate a first tranche of sites. In Scottish waters, we worked with Scottish Natural Heritage to submit advice in November 2012 to Marine Scotland on Nature Conservation MPAs. Consultation on proposed sites will take place in 2013. Following advice on site identification from JNCC, a further eight offshore Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) were submitted to the European Commission in 2012, in support of the Habitats Directive. There are now 20 offshore candidate SACs with a total extent of approximately 49,450 km2, which is almost 7% of UK offshore waters, providing protection for important examples of marine ecosystems. In support of the Birds Directive, we also continued to make progress towards completing identification of marine Special Protection Areas (SPAs) by 2015.

 

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires EU Member States to put in place the necessary management measures to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) in their marine waters by 2020.  JNCC provides technical advice to support implementation of the MSFD, and in 2012/13 we developed proposals for UK biodiversity targets and indicators to define GES. Following consultation by the four UK administrations, a final set of targets and indicators was submitted to the European Commission in December 2012.

 

JNCC provides advice to industry and regulators to ensure developments in offshore marine waters meet environmental requirements. During 2012/13, we received 572 formal casework consultations from the oil and gas and aggregates industries, and also advised on several large-scale proposed renewables developments.

 

Advice on international nature conservation remains a core JNCC role. In October 2012 JNCC staff participated in the UK delegation to the 11th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in India. The conference reaffirmed commitment to implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi targets, which provide a framework for biodiversity strategies within the UK.

 

JNCC staff also contributed to the establishment of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) as an independent body for assessing the state of the planet's biodiversity and its ecosystems. We supported Defra at the second plenary meeting in Panama in April 2012, and facilitated engagement in IPBES by the UK biodiversity science and policy communities.

 

The UK’s Overseas Territories are highly dependent on their natural capital for their human and economic wellbeing. JNCC continues to work with Defra, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for International Development to help individual Territories identify key biodiversity issues that need to be taken into account for wise economic and infrastructure planning. In 2012/13, we completed projects in the Falklands and the British Virgin Islands (funded by FCO) and Anguilla (funded by Defra).

 

Our achievements over the past year are testament to the dedication and hard work of JNCC staff. They also reflect the strength of our partnerships with UK and devolved administrations, other statutory bodies, and non-governmental organisations. We are grateful for all of these contributions.

 

Over the next few years, it is clear that JNCC will need to be flexible in response to budgetary pressures and priorities for reform within UK Government and the devolved administrations. JNCC’s Triennial Review will conclude in 2013, and we look forward to an outcome that will make JNCC stronger and more effective. We will also respond to changes in the institutional landscape across the UK, including the establishment of Natural Resources Wales in April 2013. Our business plan for 2013/14 sets out how we will face these challenges, while continuing to meet government requirements for advice on UK and international nature conservation.

 

Dr P Bridgewater (Chair)      Mr MJM Yeo (Chief Executive)
 
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ISBN 978-0-10-296661-9
 
Please cite as: JNCC, (2013), JNCC's Annual Report and Accounts for year ending 31 March 2013, ISBN 978-0-10-296661-9